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Housewares report shows sales growth

Rosemont, Ill. - A new snapshot of the housewares industry reflects mild growth in consumer confidence.

According to the International Housewares Association's 2013 State of the Industry Report, the global housewares market increased retail sales 2.9% to $314.3 billion in 2012, the most recent statistics available, while U.S. housewares expenditures increased 3.3% to $69.3 billion.

The report found that discount stores and supercenters represented the leading retail channel for sales in all housewares categories. Non-store retailing represented the second largest share of housewares sales in 2012.

E-commerce retail sales continued to post sales gains.

When combined, these retail channels - direct to consumer via manufacturer website and catalog/TV and Internet retailers - reached 15% in share of total housewares retail sales in 2012 versus 13.1% in 2011.

The average size of IHA member companies increased slightly to $21.8 million.

The report also highlighted macro trends in the industry. For example while inventory turns may be slowing, inventory levels are being matched to store sales, which indicates less investment buying by retailers.

In addition, housewares companies can expect to have fewer purely "brick and mortar" customers as a result of retailer consolidation and growing Internet sales.

And while the slower-paced economy in 2008 and early 2009 helped lower raw materials prices and the mild expansion that followed may have created some optimism, current sentiment appears to be "wait and see."

Healthcare costs appear to add a double inhibitor to housewares businesses - increased operating costs for manufacturers and decreased consumer spending as more employee wages go toward healthcare costs.

Yet consumers seem to be "loosening their belts" slightly, which could have positive implications for in-home purchases such as housewares.

This annual recap of the industry, a joint effort of IHA and Raftery Resource Network, includes a compilation of data from the annual IHA annual membership survey and the U.S. government. The 56-page report also offers a list of the top 100 domestic housewares retailers by sales and the top 50 Internet properties in the U.S. The 2013 SOI Report is available in the Knowledge Center at www.housewares.org. Non-members can purchase a copy of the report for $500.

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